Thanks to the generous support of individual members of the Rockefeller family, we reforested 100 acres of Shoshone National Forest, still without forest cover thirty years after the Clover Mist Fire. The family had long ties to this region as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had acquired and donated to the federal government 33,000 acres for a major expansion of public lands around Jackson Hole, WY. The Shoshone and Teton National Forests lie directly to the east of where an earlier Rockefeller had done his part for conservation.
Shoshone National Forest abuts Yellowstone National Park and is part of the 10–million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The forest offers the area’s visitors 2.4 million acres of public lands to explore. The Shoshone, America’s first National Forest, includes five designated wilderness areas and the headwaters for nine rivers, including the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Yellowstone River. Shoshone National Forest’s diverse terrain ranges from sagebrush-speckled flats to snow-capped mountains and provides habitat for more than 335 species of wildlife, including grizzly bears, elk, and moose.
In 1988, the Clover Mist Fire began in Yellowstone National Park and quickly spread to Shoshone National Forest. There, the fire burned 120,000 acres, charring wildlife habitat and impairing watershed health and function. Reforestation efforts in the years following the fire were unsuccessful at several sites and trees did not regenerate naturally throughout the entire burned area.
Working with our partners at the USDA Forest Service, we planted 32,000 seedlings of Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine across 100 acres of Shoshone National Forest. As with all of our planting projects, Forest Service staff will continue to monitor the seedlings for survival for the next few years to ensure the success of the project.
Reforesting projects like this help restore watershed health, recover habitat for wildlife, and improve the recreational experience for the millions who visit our forests each year. Thanks to strong support from generous donors like members of the Rockefeller Family, the National Forest Foundation is on its way to planting 50 million trees on our National Forests.
Header photo by Jon Majkut